Where to Get Long Term Care & Who Provides it?

Question #1: When I need care, WHERE will I receive it?

There are only two answers to this question.

The first answer is in the home – whether that is your home or a family member’s home. 

Most people want to receive their care in their home. It’s where they feel the most comfortable. But sometimes our needs require more than can be properly given in the home, so the second answer is in a facility. 

This can be an adult day center, assisted living, a nursing home, or even a memory care facility.

Question #2: When I need care, WHO will provide it?

Again, there are really only two answers to this question.

The first answer is, your care will be provided by someone you love, and who cares about you.

This is most commonly going to be a family member, perhaps a spouse or child.

Many people we work with will frequently say that their kids have told them not to worry because they will “take care of them.”

Whenever we hear this, a particular question comes to mind. 

Did our children say “I’ll take care of you”, or did they say “don’t worry, mom, or dad, I want to provide your care”.

Those are two very different things. 

We’ve learned over the years that, many times when a child tells a parent that they will take care of them, they may not fully understand what they are saying. Sometimes, the statement really means “I love you”, or “I want what’s best for you”. It’s an expression of love and loyalty. But this is different from actually providing care on an ongoing basis.

Do our children have the financial resources available?
Do they have the requisite flexibility with their job or career?
Do they live close enough?
Are they willing to provide ongoing care that has no defined duration?
Do they have the physical strength and emotional stamina?

A topic many try to avoid involves whether or not we are willing to interact with each other in new ways that have not customarily been a part of our prior relationship. 

Are we willing to be in compromised or even undignified situations with these loved ones that involve incontinence, bathing, dressing, and toileting?

Now, the second answer to the – who will provide the care question:
Our care will be provided by a skilled, paid, trained professional. 

There are nuances to this option that often go unnoticed.

A professional can provide the type and quality of care when and where we need it, that’s wonderful, and extremely important.

The advantage to a professional that is often overlooked is that this arrangement helps preserve the family dynamic, especially between spouses or children.

Having a professional provide care means that the family members in this discussion are now on the same side of the transaction, meaning now our family gets to supervise the care, rather than provide it.

When someone requires care, everything about their world changes. Most importantly, they’ve lost independence and this can be extremely difficult for them emotionally. 

By having the family members on the same side of the transaction means that now our family has the ability to “take care of us” without actually providing our care. They can support us, love us, do little things around the house, run errands, the sort of things that help them feel like they are doing their part to take care of us, but without having to interact with us in uncomfortable ways.

When is the best time to start planning?

The last thing to bring up in this article involves timing. 

The reality is, any time is the right time, and it’s certainly never too late, but financially speaking – the early-to-mid 50’s is the sweet spot to start getting serious around the Long Term Care plan. We’ll talk more about why this is the case in our next step!

Long Term Care Step 2